Photo Credit: Photo by Large Marge
Meet The Only All-Black Female Rodeo Squad, The Cowgirls Of Color
While there have been Black cowboys and cowgirls around for centuries, seeing a team made up of only Black women is something new. Maryland based riders, The Cowgirls of Color, broke onto the scene within the last few years– in hopes of inspiring generations after them.
Kisha “KB” Bowles, Selina “Pennie” Brown, Brittaney “Brit Brat” Logan, Sandra “Pinky” Dorsey, and Leslie “Camo Girl” DeLacy are the five women behind the squad looking to kick ass and take names in the rodeo world.
What makes their journey unique, is that only one of the women was exposed to riding horses at a young age. Many of the women began riding later in life, and are proof that it’s never too late to follow a dream.
This journey hasn’t been easy for them. No one had the money or resources to jump full throttle into the industry, but they were determined to make it work. Each woman still has a day job and three of the women are also moms.
“When we first started out, we were poor,” Kisha Bowles told Travel Noire. “We were using the horses of a man who was also poor and lived in his barn. We would feed the horses bread versus hay or actual feed that most horses get. Nothing matched. But, we had heart and we wanted it.”
Since they began competing, they have typically only entered shows within the Maryland area to keep costs down. Each year, they set out to go head to head in the team relay of the Bill Pickett Invitational. This longstanding circuit is geared toward African American riders across the country.
The very first show didn’t go so well.
“It was bad,” Kisha said. “We just weren’t as ready as we thought.”
The women would spend that next year training and getting acquainted with each other and their horses, something that is very important for rodeo competitors. They came back the next year, and still fell short.
They stuck it out yet again and this past year, the ladies took third in the team competition. Now everyone has their own horse and things are falling into place for them.
“We’ve faced so many obstacles including injuries and even our horses getting hurt. But we never quit. People have talked about us and said that we don’t deserve the recognition that we are getting. It’s a bittersweet success. We’re inspiring women and children to do things they didn’t know they could do. We may not be the best in the world, but there’s still a message in our story.”
The ladies are training to enter some individual events in the next year, in hopes of breaking into larger shows and circuits across the country. They are aiming at a spot in the NFR, something that no Black woman has achieved to this day.
While winning shows is a goal for the team, their ultimate goal is to start a non profit to expose more young girls in the Maryland and D.C. area to horse riding and rodeo.
“We really have a desire to work with young kids. We want to bring up a group of girls and expose them early on, so that they can go out and compete one day too.”